Amy Thompson, a proactive professor-in-residence at UConn’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and at the Pratt & Whitney Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering at the IPB, is actively engaged in advancing energy efficiency and sustainability in Connecticut communities. Her brainchild, SmartBuildings CT, has been a driving force in collaborating with municipalities and school districts to evaluate energy consumption in public buildings while offering essential technical support, education, and training. Thompson’s program employs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‘s complimentary Portfolio Manager tool, enabling monitoring and analysis of energy usage patterns while assigning valuable Energy Star scores for comprehensive benchmarking. By identifying underperforming buildings and sharing best practices, SmartBuildings CT helps towns allocate resources effectively for energy improvements.
In partnership with Energize CT, the state’s energy efficiency programs, and Sustainable CT, a nonprofit organization that supports sustainability actions in Connecticut towns, Thompson has enabled over 70 towns and school districts to benchmark more than 3,064 buildings to date, helping towns establish energy accounts and identify opportunities for energy improvements and cost savings. She also works with the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to expand SmartBuildings CT’s reach to privately owned commercial and industrial buildings, aiming to empower small and medium-sized businesses with advanced methods and tools for sustainable practices.
“I always admire the research and the methods that are created here at UConn,” Thompson says. “When I’m not teaching, the thing I’m really interested in doing is getting those advanced technologies and advanced methods into the hands of people in Connecticut communities and businesses more quickly, so that they can make an impact. What you don’t want is a barrier to that, and I feel like our program is an example of technology transfer and knowledge transfer. It’s a great way to support Connecticut.”
In recognition of these valuable contributions towards sustainability, Thompson was awarded the Partner of the Year award from Sustainable CT in 2022. Yet Thompson’s achievements do not stop there.
The SmartBuildings CT program also provides tremendous value for workforce development and training opportunities for UConn engineering students. Thompson brings students a broader perspective on engineering fields and the types of work they can pursue. Students like Julia De Oliveira ’22 (ENG) have found the program instrumental in exploring their interest in energy and sustainability. Julia, now employed at Collins Aerospace, says, “Dr. Thompson herself really supports the students and helps them in their next opportunities, guiding them to what they may be interested in. Where I’m at now pretty much wouldn’t be possible without the program and Dr. Thompson.” Another student, Mohammed Albayati, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering, has gained practical experience in energy efficiency systems and environmental sustainability. “I’m very proud of working on this project with Professor Thompson… [and] gaining those professional skills through this program, including learning how to communicate professionally with stakeholders like municipal leaders, directors of finance and buildings, utility employees, and even selectmen and women and mayors,” he says.
SmartBuildings CT is a part of the Pratt & Whitney Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering (PW IASE), located at the Innovative Partnership Building at UConn Tech Park. For more information, visit techpark.uconn.edu.
For full article, see UConn Today here.